It's Tuesday and that means a long day of publisher presentations. The one that had the most business consequence out of what I've seen so far, was the Asmodee North America keynote. ANA announced some serious changes to their distribution vertical:
- There will be a "Best Sellers" stockist program a la Games Workshop;
- Stores that play ball will get incentives such as a spiffy set of racks for free, pricing advantage, and free demo units;
- ANA is committing to having the Best Sellers titles in stock all the time in distribution; and
- The new Minimum Advertised Price for ANA products is 90% of MSRP, up from 80%.
This is made possible by the ANA retailer approval system and the exclusive distribution in the U.S. through Alliance. I know exclusives are not popular among most retailers but the reality is Alliance is extremely well-practiced at this and is positioned to make it work.
ANA kindly provided the list of required stock titles. It's stuff I already mostly want to have in stock all the time anyway, so this is an easy "yes" for DSG. Examples:
- Catan Seafarers,
- three Ticket to Ride standalones,
- Mansions of Madness,
- the three Arkham Horror series core games,
- Star Wars Destiny R2P2 box,
- Star Wars Rebellion,
- Star Wars Imperial Assault (apparently not deprecated in favor of Legion),
- Pandemic Legacy Blue (which I guess will be available now),
- 7 Wonders and 7 Wonders Duel,
- Dead of Winter,
- Small World,
- Captain Sonar,
- Dice Forge,
- TIME Stories,
- Unlock set 1,
- and a few more titles that I expect to fall off the list at the first review.
I mean, wow, that's the DSG catalog in large part. Okay, maybe it's not ALL I'm stocking. I sell a remarkable lot of Boss Monster. But a bunch of these are true evergreens that are proven and for the most part these are games that I tend to order without fear.
I think the tightened MAP, if enforced, which these guys tend to do pretty well, is going to help improve the value perception of the titles in this line. Nobody complains that iPhones or PING clubs are just about always sold at full list price. They don't feel like they are missing out on a deal by going ahead and buying, and the product is good enough that there isn't much buyer's remorse afterward. I make a lot of hay offering preorders and other specials at 20% off for ANA products, and I don't think that will change much at 10% off. I do think we'll see people spend a little more time with their games once they buy them, and maybe we'll see less of a firehose tempo in terms of market release, a frenzy up front, and dumping afterward.
Anyway still plenty left to do at GAMA but I'm happy to see big moves like this from publishers who are looking to improve the landscape for these products. At the end of this mechanism is better capability for me to put good games into the hands of players.